Street Fighter Alpha Anthology PS2 Review

Capcom have been kind to fans of all things retro in recent years, with the release of various collections, making many an older gamer shed a tear of joy, all in the name of nostalgia. Street Fighter Alpha Anthology is the legendary companies newest retro offering, containing some of the finest 2D fighters ever conceived.

The disc has arcade perfect conversions of every Alpha game in existence: Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold and Street Fighter Alpha 3, along with the rather out of place, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix all make up this rather stunning collection.

For those not in the know, the Alpha series is a prequel to the crafter of fighting games as we know them: Street Fighter II. It was a series that allowed hardcore fans to learn the back-story of their favourite characters. However, whilst a story is always nice, it remains unimportant in a game that is all about kicking the hell out of each other.

Street Fighter Alpha is of course where it all started. The game was released way back in 1995 and brought some new additions to Street Fighter that had previously been seen in Capcom’s own offbeat series: darkstalkers. The appealing anime style visuals and the three level super combo gauge were both features from said game and additions that became popular mainstays of the Alpha series. It’s a very nice fighting game, but when compared to later entries in the series, is lacking in features, namely a lack of stages and characters. The fact that it feels fairly dated in this day and age doesn‘t exactly help matters either.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 doesn’t suffer from any such flaws, offering a larger cast of characters and substantially more backdrops for your skirmishes to take place in. The game is regarded as the first truly great Alpha title by many, and despite being released just a year after the first game, it still stands up well today. Along with all the previous Alpha characters, Alpha 2 saw the re-emergence of a handful of characters from previous games. Dhalsim, Zangief, Gen and Final Fight’s Rolento were all back and redrawn in Alpha’s anime style. It must be noted that Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold is nothing more than a refined version of Alpha 2 and thus is undeserving of its own dedicated paragraph.

Which brings us to the final Alpha game: Street Fighter Alpha 3, which is not only considered to be the best Alpha game by many but also one of the best Street Fighter titles ever released. The game brought back many more characters from previous Street Fighter games including Blanka and introduced ISMS, which allowed you to choose your style, giving you some leeway in how you wanted to go about beating your opponent to a bloody pulp.

Not being a part of the Alpha family, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix is the black sheep of this collection, offering up super deformed versions of famous characters from various Capcom fighting games and an unusual approach, which had you amassing gems so you were able to fire off your special moves.

Every one of the games residing on this collection are playable, resulting in a fantastic union that any 2D fighting game fan should pick up. Tears of joy, nostalgia or both are sure to follow.